CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Hurricanes are off to a great start this season and have one game left before their schedule really gets challenging.
No. 13 Miami faces its final non-conference test as its plays host to Princeton at the Bank United Center on Tuesday night.
Coming off consecutive blowouts of Charleston and La Salle, coach Jim Larranaga’s biggest challenge is to have his team focused on its Ivy League foe rather than on Saturday’s ACC opener against Syracuse.
The Hurricanes destroyed the Explorers 95-49 in their most recent game, the largest margin of defeat in La Salle’s basketball history, which dates back to 1931-32.
Senior forward Ivan Cruz Uceda, who lost his his starting job to redshirt junior Kamari Murphy earlier in the season, led the way with 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting that included four 3-pointers as the Hurricanes once again showed off their depth as their bench totaled 47 points.
Cruz Uceda’s career high marked the second straight game that Miami has gotten 20 points from a reserve with backup point guard Ja’Quan Newton reaching that total against Charleston.
The Tigers will be facing their second top-15 foe, having lost to No. 4 Maryland 82-61 on Dec. 19.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3
ABOUT PRINCETON (7-3): The Tigers are a solid offensive team, averaging 76.6 points on 44.2 percent shooting, but lack scoring depth with 81.2 percent of their points coming from only six players, the five starters and freshman reserve guard Devin Cannady (10 points a game).
Henry Caruso, a 6-4 junior forward who scored only 176 points last season, already has 498 this season and is the second-leading scorer in the Ivy League (17.8 ppg on 57.9 percent shooting).
The starting lineup features a pair of second-team All-Ivy selections from last season, forwards Spencer Weisz (9.6 points, 6.2 rebounds) and Steven Cook (9.6, 5.2).
ABOUT MIAMI (10-1): The Hurricanes, who shot better than 50 percent for the eighth time in 11 games against La Salle, have six of their top eight scorers shooting above that mark, led by 7-footer inside presence Tonye Jekiri (60.3 percent) and senior guard Sheldon McClellan (58 percent, 51.4 percent on 3-pointers), who leads the team in scoring at 16.3 ppg.
The Hurricanes have feasted at the foul line, averaging 20.2 points while making 99 more free throws than their opponents.
Miami’s defense, a sore spot in the team’s one-point loss to Northeastern, has shown rapid improvement, highlighted by holding La Salle to only 29.8 percent shooting.
- Miami and Princeton will face off for the first time in 67 years with the schools having split a two-game series in Miami in December 1948.
- While Miami features the 6-11 Cruz Uceda and 7-foot Jekiri in addition to several key players who are 6-7 and taller, only one of Princeton’s top six scorers is taller than 6-5 – 6-11 junior Pete Miller.
- Princeton is 14-27 all-time against ACC schools and is 4-6 in games played in the state of Florida.
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